The iPod timeline and what we might expect next
The timing of the Apple iPod family launches have been nothing if not predictable over the last few years but it wasn't always that way. Take a look back at our timeline of events for all things Jobs audio and maybe you can work out the next on 9th September.
1st gen iPod - The first of the dynasty arrives. It's about the size of a deck of cards, has a mechanical selector wheel with the control buttons at the circumference, comes with 5GB of HDD storage - later 10GB - and is heralded by Steve Jobs as "1,000 songs in your pocket". It's only compatible with iTunes and Macs and works with a FireWire connection.
2nd gen iPod - A 20GB version is added to the range and the mechanical wheel is replaced by a touch sensitive control which continues through the family from then on. The device becomes Windows compatible but only through Musicmatch Jukebox and not iTunes.
3rd gen iPod - The first major redesign sees the iPod slim down and go all touch sensitive with the four buttons moving from the edge of the wheel into a row beneath the screen. The dock is also added along with a USB connection for data transfer only. The range expands to 10, 15 and 30GB sizes (10, 20 & 30GB from Sept 2003) and iTunes becomes Window compatible.
1st gen mini - The second, and now defunct, iteration arrives as a smaller, more affordable version of the iPod. It comes in five colours with a 4G compact flash-based Microdrive which allowed the drop in size.
3rd gen iPod - Sizes changed to 15, 20 and 40GB.
4th gen iPod - Largely the same as the previous generation except the four control buttons move back down to a clickable wheel and the models are simplified to just the 20GB and 40GB sizes. USB can be used fully, as well as FireWire, and the hold button is redesigned.
iPod photo (4th gen) - Apple adds a special edition of the fourth generation iPod that supports JPEG, TIFF, BMP, GIF and PNG image files and displays them on a 65k colour screen. They're available in 40 and 60GB sizes (30 & 60GB by Feb 2005) and have a video-out function whereby you can display your slideshows on a TV.
1st gen shuffle - The smallest member of the family is introduced with an in-built USB adaptor for both charging and data transfer. It's white and comes in either 512MB or 1GB sizes.
iPod colour (4th gen) - The iPod photo is engulfed by the standard iPod branch with colour screens added to the 20GB and 60GB while the 30GB is cut.
1st gen iPod nano - The September iPod announcements begin as we know it with the launch of Nano that eventually goes on to replace the Mini. It uses flash memory rather than the iPod's HDD, it comes in black or white and in 1, 2 and 4GB sizes. It has the same features as the iPod and is about half the width and but with the other dimensions the same.
5th gen iPod - The fifth generation brings the second major redesign to the original player. The case becomes slimmer and the screen both larger and also capable of video playback. It comes in 30 and 60GB sizes in either black or white and FireWire is relegated to charging purposes only.
2nd Gen mini - The last of the Mini's sees an extra 8GB size added and the gold colour dropped.
2nd gen shuffle - The iPod shuffle is redesigned as a 1GB silver anodised clip, later available in four other colours. The built-in USB connector is lost.
2nd gen nano - The iPod nano gets the anodised treatment and given a choice of five colours and two sizes - 4GB and 8GB
5th gen iPod - 80GB version launched
2nd gen shuffle - Green and blue colors of the iPod shuffle are lightened and piink and orange discontinued.
3rd gen nano - The iPod nano is redesigned shorter and squatter but with a bigger 2" QVGA screen capable of video playback. It's available in five colours and the 2GB model is dropped.
6th gen iPod classic - The latest iPod is launched and renamed the iPod classic. An anodised steel case replaces the traditional white. The black is still available and available models are 80GB and 160GB versions.
1st gen touch - The iPod touch is introduced as a multitouch screen, Wi-Fi connected media player running the iPhone OS. It's available in 8, 16 and 32GB sizes and later adopts applications when the App Store opens
2nd gen shuffle - 2GB model added
4th gen nano - The iPod nano is redesigned back to a more familiar form only with an oval cross-section and keeping the large video-enabled screen. An accelerometer with "shake to shuffle" feature arrives and the models are available in 8 and 16GB sizes and in a range of eight "Nanochromatic" colours.
iPod classic (6th gen) - 120GB version takes over and the iTunes Genius function is added
2nd gen touch - iPod touch tweaked with a chrome back, Bluetooth support for when the iPhone OS 3.0 comes out and a built-in speaker. The Nike+ feature is also added for those who like to exercise.
3rd gen shuffle - Weighing just 11g, the latest iPod shuffle is the smallest of them all - 45.2 x 17.5 x 7.8 mm. The controls have totally disappeared from the main unit and are instead located on the headphones. The 4GB device can be bought in black or silver and come with the Apple's VoiceOver technology which details the tracks, artists and albums in 14 different languages.
Good question. Well, we know that cameras are coming to the range but whether that spans the Nano, Classic and Touch is another question. The iPod shuffle would seem unlikely. As a wild guess based on past trends...
iPod shuffle - Nothing till next year.
5th gen nano - The design remains roughly the same but the screen is made larger and comes in a better resolution. Bluetooth connectivity is added, plus a 3.2-megapixel camera, VoiceOver and the 4GB version is dropped for a 32GB.
7th gen iPod - Time for another big redesign for the iPod. A far bigger screen, possibly somewhere approaching HD quality; a 3.2-megapixel camera and video capture too. 300GB version added. That or they drop the Classic altogether.
3rd gen touch - The iPod touch slims, gets a memory boost, the compass and voice control from the iPhone and the addition of a 5-megapixel camera with flash much to the annoyannce of many.